Category Archives: IRS Problems

IRS Cautions Taxpayers About Fake Charities and Scammers Targeting Immigrants

By Coleman Jackson, Attorney & Counselor and CPA
August 01, 2021

IRS Cautions Taxpayers About Fake Charities and Scammers Targeting Immigrants
The IRS continues to observe criminals using a variety of scams that target honest taxpayers. In some cases, these scams will trick taxpayers into doing something illegal or that ultimately causes them financial harm. In this blog we will discuss about Fake Charities and Immigrant Fraud which are part of the “Dirty Dozen” of tax scams list in 2021.


Fake charities

Fake charities

Taxpayers should be on the lookout for scammers who set up fake organizations to take advantage of the public’s generosity. Scammers take advantage of tragedies and disasters.

Scams requesting donations for disaster relief efforts are especially common over the phone. Taxpayers should always check out a charity before they donate, and they should not feel pressured to give immediately.

Taxpayers who give money or goods to a charity may be able to claim a deduction on their federal tax return by reducing the amount of their taxable income. However, to receive a deduction, taxpayers must donate to a qualified charity. To check the status of a charity, they can use the IRS Tax Exempt Organization Search tool. It’s also important for taxpayers to remember that they can’t deduct gifts to individuals or to political organizations and candidates.

Here are some tips to help taxpayer avoid fake charity scams:

  • Individuals should never let any caller pressure them. A legitimate charity will be happy to get a donation at any time, so there’s no rush. Donors are encouraged to take time to do their own research.
  • Confirm the charity is real. Potential donors should ask the fundraiser for the charity’s exact name, website and mailing address, so they can confirm it later. Some dishonest telemarketers use names that sound like well-known charities to confuse people.
  • Be careful about how a donation is made. Taxpayers shouldn’t work with charities that ask for donations by giving numbers from a gift card or by wiring money. That’s a scam. It’s safest to pay by credit card or check – and only after researching the charity.


Immigrant fraud

Immigrant fraud

IRS impersonators and other scammers often use threats and intimidation to target groups with limited English proficiency.

The IRS phone impersonation scam remains a common scam. This is where a taxpayer receives a phone call threatening jail time, deportation or revocation of a driver’s license from someone claiming to be with the IRS. Recent immigrants often are the most vulnerable. People need to ignore these threats and not engage the scammers.

A taxpayer’s first contact with the IRS will usually be through mail, not over the phone. Legitimate IRS employees will not threaten to revoke licenses or have a person deported. These are scare tactics.

 

This law blog is written by the Taxation | Litigation | Immigration Law Firm of Coleman Jackson, P.C. for educational purposes; it does not create an attorney-client relationship between this law firm and its reader.  You should consult with legal counsel in your geographical area with respect to any legal issues impacting you, your family or business.

Coleman Jackson, P.C. | Taxation, Litigation, Immigration Law Firm | English (214) 599-0431 | Spanish (214) 599-0432 | Portuguese (214) 272-3100

Cash Intensive Businesses Need Good Internal Controls to Substantiate Business Activity

By Coleman Jackson, Attorney & Counselor and CPA
July 17, 2021

Cash Intensive Businesses Need Good Internal Controls to Substantiate Business Activity

Operating a business enterprise with cash can be an IRS audit flag because businesses operating in cash are susceptible to fraudulent financial transactions.  However certain business operations handle a lot of cash in their normal operations.  These businesses are classified in tax parlance as cash intensive businesses.  Convenience stores, donut shops, massage parlors, hair stylist, mini-marts, bodegas, coin operated amusements venues; such as video games, pinball machines, jukeboxes, pool tables, slot machines and other gaming machines to only name a few classic cash intensive businesses.  All of these types of businesses can legitimately operate with a high incident of cash transactions.  So, there is absolutely no badge or indicia of fraud exist in most of these cash intensive businesses.  Marijuana operators are another example of perhaps legitimate businesses operating in cash.  Where the marijuana operators being legal, they must operate in cash because the use, sell and distribution of marijuana is illegal under federal drug enforcement laws even though several states have legalized this drug for medicinal as well as entertaining purposes in some cases.  Since it is illegal under federal law to sell or distribute marijuana, those enterprises that sell and distribute marijuana cannot use the normal banking system.  And certain laundry facilities also are coin operated businesses.  They too are legitimately cash intensive businesses.  All of these cash intensive businesses have one thing in common, cash is fungible and hard to trace.  Therefore, when the IRS examiner comes to audit their books and records, it can be a challenging experience for the auditor and extremely frightening to the cash intensive business owner.

 

Cash Intensive Businesses Need Good Internal Controls to Substantiate Business Activity

It is not lost on the State of Texas and IRS examiner that cash operated businesses can have multiple sets of books and records or no records at all.  And often when they have records, they are poor, incomplete and inaccurate.  The basic issue is proper accounting for transactions during the audit period:  are sales, purchases, and inventory properly and timely accounted for where the operator and the auditor can timely and accurate compute taxes owed and the operator can submit the right amount of taxes to the tax authorities?  These questions are proper concerns of any auditor who examines the books and records of any cash intensive business.  Personal expenses paid out of the cash of the business.  Business expenses paid with cash from receipts without any records.  Personal use of items purchased.  Physical inventories none existent or sporadic which leads to missing, stolen or unaccountable purchased items.  Cash sales recorded on paper or separate ledgers completely separate and distinct from credit card sales registers or any register tape at all.  Multiple employees using the same cash drawers without any accountability or cash reports or registry procedures or system of control.  Now these things could be done intentionally, but, quite often they are done unintentionally.  Many immigrants work in cash intensive businesses and many come to the United States where different cultural and business norms apply with regards to operation of a business enterprise.  They are not familiar with the requirements to keep timely and accurate business records for Texas limited sales, use and excise tax purposes and federal income tax purposes.  Many immigrants are surprised and afraid when the Texas or Federal tax examiner knocks on their door.  Good internal controls can serve the auditor well and lessen the fear of the business owner.

Cash Intensive Businesses Need Good Internal Controls to Substantiate Business Activity

Internal Controls is an accounting process.  It is a very important process in any business to account for the receipts of money, disbursement of money and account for the inventory and property of the business.  Cash intensive businesses should implement strong internal controls because cash is fungible.  Internal controls are the process or systems in place to ensure the efficient and effective capturing of critical data to ensure that the business can run with accountably to its owners and consistent with the owners’ objectives;  produce reliable and accurate financial summaries for management purposes and pursuant to outside obligations; and reports and comply with applicable laws, regulations and ordinances.  In order for a business to have effective internal control requires that the job duties of employees who collect the money, record the money and review the money reports are adequately separated.  Internal controls require documentation, documentation and more documentation.  And this is critical for cash intensive businesses because under the Texas Tax Code all businesses must keep accurate contemporaneous books and records.  The Internal Revenue Code requires the same for federal tax purposes; and it also requires taxpayers to substantiate its receipts and deductions upon IRS examination.  Cash intensive business owners will do well to review their internal controls prior to a visit by auditors from either the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts or the Internal Revenue Service to ensure that they are in compliance with all applicable tax laws.

 

This law blog is written by the Taxation | Litigation | Immigration Law Firm of Coleman Jackson, P.C. for educational purposes; it does not create an attorney-client relationship between this law firm and its reader.  You should consult with legal counsel in your geographical area with respect to any legal issues impacting you, your family or business.

Coleman Jackson, P.C. | Taxation, Litigation, Immigration Law Firm | English (214) 599-0431 | Spanish (214) 599-0432 | Portuguese (214) 272-3100

Here’s Why People Filing Taxes Should Be Careful When Selecting A Professional Tax Return Preparer | LEGAL THOUGHTS

Coleman Jackson, P.C. | Transcript of Legal Thoughts Podcast
Published March 10, 2021.

Here’s Why People Filing Taxes Should Be Careful When Selecting A Professional Tax Return Preparer

Legal Thoughts is a podcast presentation by Coleman Jackson, P.C., a law firm based in Dallas, Texas serving individuals, businesses, and agencies from around the world in taxation, litigation and immigration legal matters.

This particular episode of Legal Thoughts is a podcast where the Attorney, Coleman Jackson is being interviewed by Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant of Coleman Jackson, P.C.   The topic of discussion is ““Here’s why people filing taxes should be careful when selecting a professional tax return preparer.” You can listen to this podcast by clicking here:

You can also listen to this episode and subscribe to Coleman Jackson, P.C.’s Legal Thoughts podcast on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify, Cashbox or wherever you may listen to your podcast.

TRANSCRIPT:

ATTORNEY:  Coleman Jackson
Legal Thoughts
COLEMAN JACKSON, ATTORNEY & COUNSELOR AT LAW

ATTORNEY:  Coleman Jackson

Welcome to Tax Thoughts

  • My name is Coleman Jackson and I am an attorney at Coleman Jackson, P.C., a taxation, litigation and immigration law firm based in Dallas, Texas.
  • Our topic for today is: “Here’s why people filing taxes should be careful when selecting a professional tax return preparer.”
  • Other members of Coleman Jackson, P.C. are Yulissa Molina, Tax Legal Assistant, Leiliane Godeiro, Litigation Legal Assistant, Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant and Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate.
  • On this “Legal Thoughts” podcast our public relations associate, Mayra Torres will be asking the questions and I will be responding to her questions on this important tax topic: Here’s why people filing taxes should be careful when selecting a professional tax return preparer.”

Interviewer:  Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate

  • Good morning everyone. My name is Mayra Torres and I am the public relations associate at Coleman Jackson, P.C.  Coleman Jackson, P.C. is a law firm based right here in Dallas Texas representing clients from around the world in taxation, litigation and immigration law.
  • Attorney today we are discussing a very important tax topic because filing taxes is on folks minds these days. Many people may be filing taxes for the first time this year because of the recovery rebate credit issues involving their economic impact payments and other Covid-19 relief received during 2020.
  • In this Podcast, we will be discussing the safest, easiest and perhaps cheapest way folks can file their tax returns.

Question 1:

Attorney let’s start with the cheapest way folks can file their taxes for 2020!  What options exist for people who do not want to pay a professional tax return preparer?  I mean, can people file their tax returns for free?

Attorney Answers Question 1:

  • Good morning Mayra.
  • First people can always prepare and file their tax return themselves without hiring and paying anyone.
  • Second people can go to IRS.gov and select a number of brand-name tax software providers who will permit certain eligible taxpayers to use their software to prepare and electronically file their individual tax return for absolutely free. This particular free tax preparation option might be an excellent option for some taxpayers.  Typically, the software providers require people to meet certain income, age and state residency requirements.  The software vendors’ individual qualifying requirements can be found at IRS.gov. Most of the free vendors software is in English, but a few are in Spanish.  This free file option is certainly an option that taxpayers should explore.
  • Third people can use possibly find free tax preparer clients hosted by various accounting and legal societies throughout the community. Some churches and business and law schools also provide minimum fee tax advice and counsel.  People should contact the professional schools in their communities to inquire whether students in tax law training provide such services to the community.  When I attended SMU School of Law, I participated in their tax clinic that provided free or minimum fee tax controversy services by enrolled students under the supervision of the tax clinic professor.  People should make inquiries at professional societies, schools, and places of worship to see what’s available.
  • So to summarize; Mayra, as you can see there are a number of options available for people to get their tax returns prepared at little to no costs.

Interviewer:  Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate

That is an excellent summary of the free or low-cost tax return preparation and filing options that might be available to people this year:

  1. people can prepare and file their returns without using anyone to help them;
  2. People can go to IRS.gov and select a brand-named software provider to prepare and file their return if they meet the provider’s qualification requirements, and
  3. People can search for a free or low-cost professional tax return preparer at local places of worship, or professional accounting or law societies or local law school tax clinics and accounting schools.

Question 2:

Attorney, some people can’t qualify for one of these free or low-cost tax preparation services. Some people just think taxes are very complex; they can’t prepare these complicated tax returns themselves, and they just want to hire someone to prepare the return and file it for them.  What characteristics and qualifications should people look for when hiring a tax return preparer?

Attorney Answers Question 2:

  • Mayra, that is a very good question since people are responsible for the accuracy of their tax return regardless of whether they prepare and file it themselves or hire someone else to prepare and file their return.
  • These are some of the things that people might should consider when selecting a tax return preparer:
    1. Indicial of educational training in tax law and tax accounting. This might be evidenced by a degree from college in taxes, accounting, law, finance, or some related business degree.  Return preparer might be qualified with only certificates but with increasing complexity of the tax issues involved, should cause taxpayers to exercise more exacting screening of a tax return preparer before they hire them to work on their return.
    2. Professional Tax Identification Number (or PTIN). The PTIN is an annual credentialing issued by the Department of Treasury to professionals authorized to practice before the Internal Revenue Service as paid tax return preparers. To obtain a PTIN, a tax professional must be an attorney in good standing with a State Bar Association, a licensed Certified Public Accountant in good standing with a state CPA licensing authority, an enrolled agent in good standing with the Internal Revenue Service, or a registered tax return preparer under the defunct IRS Registered Tax Return Preparer Program. Taxpayers should look for these types of credentialing when selecting a tax return preparer. In recent years, the annual PTIN fee has been suspended due to Court challenges regarding the IRS’ attempt to regulate tax practice.  The IRS’ stated goal when instituting the PTIN program was to improve the integrity and quality of the tax preparation industry.   Some tax professionals challenged this attempt in Court.  Nevertheless, PTIN credential could be a good metric for the public to use when selecting a tax return preparer.  The bottom line is this— when the professional does not have a current PTIN Card; It is possibly a bright red alert to the taxpayer that they could be taking unnecessary risk by hiring an unqualified tax return preparer.  Taxpayers are responsible and liable for the accuracy of their tax returns regardless of who prepares or files the return for them.
    3. Experience in tax return preparation is critical factor when selecting a tax return preparer. Tax law is constantly changing from year to year, and it is very important that the tax return professional maintains competencies in tax law on an annual basis.  The more experience that the tax return preparer has with the type of return involved the better.  For example, if you have foreign accounts, you should think long and hard before hiring any return preparer who has never worked with taxpayers with foreign accounts or offshore assets.  Over the years, our law firm has seen many taxpayers who have been greatly harmed by tax return preparers who failed to properly counsel and advise them with regards to proper tax accounting for offshore assets and accounts.
    4. So to summarize: taxpayers should look for relevant tax law and accounting education, IRS Tax Professional PTIN certificate and tax experience relevant to tax issues related to their particular situation when selecting a tax return preparer.
  • It is very important to make a wise selection choosing which tax return preparer to hire because taxpayers can be subject to civil penalties and even criminal exposure for inaccuracies and materially false statements and tax positions taken on their tax returns and in their claims for refunds.

Interviewer:  Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate

  • Bright Red Alert! Before hiring anyone to do your tax return, look at the tax return professional’s educational background… like where did they go to school and where did they learn tax and accounting; look at whether they have a current IRS Tax Professional PTIN certification, and look at whether they have the right type of tax experience to prepare your tax return!
  • If any of these three things are missing; it’s a bright red alert folks! Attorney, thanks for answering my question so clearly concerning what characteristics people should look for when selecting a tax return preparer.
  • Did I get the bright red alerts right, Attorney?

Question 3:

Attorney, it sounds like taxpayers can get in very serious trouble on their taxes if they hire an unqualified, incompetent, or dishonest tax return preparer.

Is there any where a taxpayer can turn for help when they suspect that they have been harmed by their tax return preparer?

Attorney Answers Question 3:

  • The Internal Revenue Service has been given the authority by Congress to maintain the public’s confidence in the federal tax system. Under that authority the IRS maintains advisory committees who establish practices, procedures and policies of the oversight offices designed to enforce regulations governing those authorized to practice before the IRS.  The IRS is required under these regulations to maintain a list of individuals and companies who have been disbarred from practice before the IRS; list practitioners with monetary sanctions, and a list of practitioners who have otherwise been sanctioned by the IRS.
  • In addition to the IRS oversight that I have mentioned; professionals such as attorneys and certified public accountants are accountable to their respective professional licensing authorities in their states. These various professional licensing boards have specific complaint procedures where injured taxpayers can file an official complaint.
  • Finally, taxpayers harmed by tax return preparers can also turn to the courts for redress by filing a lawsuit for professional liability or other claim.
  • I should caution here that every tax position taking on a particular tax return may not rise to the level incompetence or malfeasance on the part of the tax return preparer. Judgment is an inherent part of being a tax professional.  That intangible characteristic of confidence and trust in your tax professional cannot be overstated.

Interviewer:  Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate

Question 4:

What about the people that have an approved family-sponsorship petition outside of the United States?

Attorney Answers Question 4:

  • The Internal Revenue Code imposes an entire laundry list of civil penalties and criminal penalties on Tax Return Preparers who are incompetent or engage in disreputable conduct. The names and descriptions of these various penalties can be very informative as what goals the IRS is attempting to achieve in terms of protecting the public, protecting the public’s confidence in the tax system, and maintaining the overall integrity of the U.S. federal tax system.  So that I don’t overly complicate this for our none-tax professional listeners, I am going to leave out any references to the specific Internal Revenue Code Section or Treasury Regulation where these penalties are codified.  Most of our listeners probably don’t really care to know the actual tax code section and treasury regulation reference numbers for these penalties.
  • This is a list of some of the types of penalties that the IRS can impose on Tax Return Preparers. Taxpayers should just thing about the item on the list and look beyond what is right in front of them to what the IRS is trying to accomplish by imposing these penalties on incompetent preparers or those engaged in disreputable conduct:
    1. Civil Penalties imposed on tax return preparers for failure to meet due diligence requirements for determining eligibility for certain tax benefits, such as, child tax credit, head of household, and earned income credit. Often times, taxpayers take these tax positions in error or with bad advice from tax preparers.
    2. Penalties imposed on tax return preparers for failure to sign the return and penalties for failing to supply identifying numbers such as, PTIN etc. Again, often, returns prepared by paid tax preparers appear to be self-prepared.
    3. Various penalties imposed against tax preparers for giving false or misleading information to the Department of the Treasury or any of its officers, employees, or agents.
    4. Various penalties imposed against tax preparers for aiding, advising or abetting others in violating federal tax law by suggesting or aiding in an illegal plan to evade the proper application and administration of U.S. tax laws or payment of U.S. taxes.
  • Items three and four can result in civil negligence and civil accuracy related penalties; and willful or reckless violation of U.S. Tax laws could lead to criminal referrals and prosecution of the tax return preparer and the taxpayer.
  1. Penalties imposed on tax return preparer for failure to give the taxpayer a copy of their tax return.
  2. Penalties imposed on the tax return preparer for failure to maintain a copy of the prepared tax return.
  3. Penalties imposed on the tax return preparer for failure to maintain a record of who prepared the return.
  • Items five through seven is designed to create a contemporary record and to provide a chain of responsibility. Tax return preparer operations are subject to IRS examination and investigation.
  • These are only a few of the penalties that the IRS could impose on incompetent tax return preparers and those engaged in disreputable conduct.
  • Taxpayers must be careful when tax return preparers over promise, make claims of abilities to obtain certain refund amounts or tax results, or seek to negotiate taxpayer refund checks. Sometimes dishonest preparers claim that the taxpayer has companies, farms, and factories that the taxpayer themselves never knew they had.  Remember you are responsible for the numbers and data on your tax return and the IRS will look for you first to timely pay the correct amount of taxes.  Your tax return preparer may or may not ever be held accountable.  So, a word to the wise:  be careful when you select your tax return preparer.
  • All these penalty areas that I have mentioned in this podcast should help taxpayers to exercise wisdom and discretion when selecting a tax return preparer. Look for professionals with character and experience even though it might cost you more to have your taxes done.  It may cost more in the long run if you choose an incompetent tax preparer, or one engaged in disreputable acts.

Interviewer:  Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate

  • Attorney, thanks for such a thorough response to my questions about characteristics, qualifications, and other things that people should consider when selecting a tax return preparer. Character and experience always matter!
  • That’s all the questions I have for now with respect to being wise and prudent when selecting a tax return preparer. It sounds like it’s very dangerous to select the wrong person or firm to prepare your tax return.

Attorney Comment:

  • Well, those were all excellent questions, Mayra. And I am glad we were able to discuss the importance of exercising wisdom and being prudent when selecting a tax return preparer.

Mayra Torres’s Concluding Remarks:

  • Attorneys thank you for this comprehensive and informative presentation on selecting a tax return preparer.
  • Our listeners who want to hear more podcast like this one should subscribe to our Legal Thoughts Podcast on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify or wherever they listen to their podcast. You can follow our blogs by going to our law firm’s website at cjacksonlaw.com.  Everybody take care for now!  Come back in about two weeks, for more taxation, litigation and immigration Legal Thoughts from Coleman Jackson, P.C., which is located right here in Dallas, Texas at 6060 North Central Expressway, Suite 620, Dallas, Texas 75206.
  • English callers: 214-599-0431; Spanish callers:  214-599-0432 and Portuguese callers:  214-272-3100.

 Attorney’s Concluding Remarks:

THIS IS THE END OF “LEGAL THOUGHTS” FOR NOW

  • Thanks for giving us the opportunity to inform you about the why people filing taxes should be careful when selecting a professional tax return preparer.
  • If you want to see or hear more taxation, litigation and immigration LEGAL THOUGHTS from Coleman Jackson, P.C. Stay tune!  Watch for a new Legal Thoughts podcast in about two weeks and check our law firm’s website at www. cjacksonlaw.com to follow our blogs.  We are here in Dallas, Texas and want to inform, educate, and encourage our communities on topics dealing with taxation, litigation and immigration.  Until next time, take care.

Podcast – The Long-Arm of the United States Tax Code | LEGAL THOUGHTS

Coleman Jackson, P.C. | Transcript of Legal Thoughts Podcast
Published November 24, 2020.

The Long-Arm of the United States Tax Code

Legal Thoughts is a podcast presentation by Coleman Jackson, P.C., a law firm based in Dallas, Texas serving individuals, businesses, and agencies from around the world in taxation, litigation, and immigration legal matters.

This particular episode of Legal Thoughts is a podcast where the Attorney, Coleman Jackson is being interviewed by Reyna Munoz, Tax Legal Assistant of Coleman Jackson, P.C.   The topic of discussion is “What does the Long-Arm of the United States Tax Code Mean?” You can listen to this podcast by clicking here:

You can also listen to this episode and subscribe to Coleman Jackson, P.C.’s Legal Thoughts podcast on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify, Cashbox or wherever you may listen to your podcast.

TRANSCRIPT:
ATTORNEY:  Coleman Jackson
Legal Thoughts
COLEMAN JACKSON, ATTORNEY & COUNSELOR AT LAW

ATTORNEY:  Coleman Jackson

Welcome to Tax Thoughts

  • My name is Coleman Jackson, and I am an attorney at Coleman Jackson, P.C., a taxation, litigation, and immigration law firm based in Dallas, Texas.
  • Our topic for today is: “What does the Long-Arm of the United States Tax Code Mean?”
  • Other members of Coleman Jackson, P.C. are Yulissa Molina, Tax Legal Assistant, Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant, Leiliane Godeiro, Litigation Legal Assistant and Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate.
  • On this “Legal Thoughts” podcast our law firm’s Immigration Legal Assistant, Reyna Munoz will be asking the questions and I will be giving the answers as she and I will be discussing: “What does the Long-Arm of the United States Tax Code Mean?”

Reyna Munoz Introduces Herself to the Audience:

  • Hi everyone, I am Reyna. I am the Immigration Legal Assistant at the tax, litigation and immigration law firm of Coleman Jackson, P.C.  Right here in Dallas, Texas.
  • Hi Attorney; today we will be discussing the topic: What does the Long-Arm of the United States Tax Code Mean?

Question 1:

  • Well, attorney what does the long-arm of the U.S. Tax Code mean anyway?

Attorney Answers Question 1:

  • Good morning Reyna. I think this is a fascinating topic; so let’s get started!
  • United States citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (or commonly known as Green Card Holders) are required to pay taxes on their gross income, regardless of where it is earned or how it is earned in the world.  That basic rule is established in United States Code, Section 61(a); and explained in 26 Code of Federal Regulations, Section 1.1-1(b).
  • So, to answer your question, that is why it is often said by tax professionals that the U.S. tax code has long arms.  It can reach U.S. citizens and Green Card holders and their gross income from anywhere in the world.  These are very long-arms indeed!

Interviewer: Reyna Munoz, Tax Legal Assistant

Question 2:

  • That is interesting! How would the United States Government find out about this gross income and these foreign interest of U.S. citizens and Green Card Holders?

Attorney: Coleman Jackson

ANSWER 2:

  • S. citizens and Green Card Holders have a legal duty to voluntarily file appropriate tax returns and other informational materials with the U.S. government reporting their gross income and interests in financial accounts held overseas. Federal tax returns must be filed annually to report gross income (such as, Form 1040 (individuals), Form 1065 (Partnerships), Form 1120 (Corporations), Form 1041 (Estates).  All of these tax forms are filed with the Internal Revenue Service when applicable.  Further U.S. citizens and Green Card Holders with ownership interest or signatory authority of foreign accounts must complete Schedule B, Part III, Line 7 of Form 1040 their individual tax return discussing their interest or signatory authority over any foreign account during the tax period; and moreover, in the event the balance in any single account or combination of foreign accounts is greater than $10,000 during the tax period, the taxpayer must also file an FBAR with the Financial Crimes Network.
  • It will not be hard for the U.S. Department of Treasury to find out about taxpayers reporting obligations today with the technology that is in existence. In fact, it is easier today than ever for information to be shared by business entities, governmental entities and individuals in seconds around the world.
  • The U.S. Treasury has negotiated operating and reporting agreements with governments around the world to share directly or indirectly financial banking information of U.S. citizens and Green Card holders.
  • LET ME JUST SAY, IT IS EXTREMELY UNLIKELY THAT THE U.S. GOVERNMENT WILL NOT LEARN OF THESE EARNINGS AND FOREIGN ASSETS TODAY.

Interviewer: Reyna Munoz, Tax Legal Assistant

Question 3:

  • What can happen if a U.S. Citizen fails to report all of their gross income and fail to report their ownership interest in a foreign bank account?
  • First what is a foreign bank account anyway?

Attorney Answers Question 3:

  • A foreign bank account is an account in a foreign institution, or an institution physically located outside of the borders of the U.S. and its territories. Branches of U.S. domiciled banks located overseas are not classified as a foreign bank for FBAR reporting purposes or IRS purposes.
  • Individuals who fail to comply with U.S. laws can expect there to be a gradation of criminal and civil exposure. What I mean by that is in the United States criminal penalties and civil penalties for violation of the law are graded based on level of culpability.  This is also true with regards to failure to voluntarily comply with the U.S tax laws.  The U.S. tax code imposes varies kinds of penalties for violations, such as tax evasion, failure to file penalties, negligent filing penalties.
  • As for failure to report interest in foreign accounts, the IRS is permitted to assess and collect civil penalties against any individual who fails to report their interest in a foreign account on a timely filed FBAR.
  • I have written numerous blogs with regards to the penalty structure designed to hold tax cheats accountable.

 Interviewer: Reyna Munoz, Tax Legal Assistant

QUESTION 4:

  • Attorney what could you at least explain what you mean by gradation of penalties?

Attorney Answers Question 4:

  • Okay, very well! Let me briefly describe what gradation of penalties means as it relates to failure to file a required FBAR.
  • If an individual’s failure to file an FBAR is deemed willful by the IRS, then the IRS has the discretion to assess a maximum penalty of $100,000 or 50 percent of the balance in the foreign account at the time of the violation. Whichever is higher is the collectable penalty.
  • Willfulness does not require actual knowledge of the duty to report interest in a foreign account. Reckless or careless disregard of their statutory duty to report their ownership or beneficiary interest in the foreign account is enough for the IRS assess and collect the penalty.
  • The IRS has been challenged in Courts around the country, and they have a pretty good betting record on winning the willfulness FBAR cases. Come on, just look; these cases are what lawyers routine call document cases. For example, (1) it’s easy to prove whether someone is a U.S. citizen or Green Card Holder because there is a U.S. birth Certificate or Naturalization  Certificate or Lawful Permanent Resident Card; (2) it’s easy to prove that the account is located outside of the U.S. and its territories because there are bank account statements; and (3) it’s easy to prove that the taxpayer filed a tax return failing to list the foreign bank account because there is Schedule B, Part III, Line 7 of IRS Form 1040.  Hey, three strikes and you are out.  Willfulness to violate the FBAR rules is not a very high burden for the IRS to carry in these FBAR violation cases.

Interviewer: Reyna Munoz, Tax Legal Assistant

Question 5:

  • Okay Attorney that sounds like three strikes. It might be hard to hit the ball.  But what about—
  • If the taxpayer hired a professional tax return preparer to prepare and file, the return? Could the taxpayer now say it was none willful?

Attorney: Coleman Jackson

ANSWER 5:

  • Well it depends on all the facts and circumstances as to whether a skillful negotiated and advocate could make out a defense.
  • But the main thing everyone should take away is this:
  • Taxpayers are deemed to have constructive knowledge of and responsibility for the contents of their tax returns which are signed under penalty of perjury.
  • Where immigrants are involved who lacks the knowledge of the English language, cultural norms in terms of voluntary tax reporting, educational challenges and other capacity factors, in these circumstances skillful advocacy might manage to turn what appears to be a willful violation into a none willful violation of U.S. law. People with foreign gross income and foreign account interest need to do their due diligence in picking tax professionals in preparation of U.S. tax returns and compliance with FBAR requires because the penalties for failing to comply are rough regardless of the gradation of the penalties.

Interviewer: Reyna Munoz, Tax Legal Assistant

Question 6:

  • Okay, I think I understand.
  • Attorney, you mentioned voluntary disclosure. Is there a way a person can get this right even after they failed to property report their gross income or foreign account?

Attorney: Coleman Jackson

ANSWER 6:

  • Yes, the IRS has voluntary disclosure programs. But the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program or OVDP has ended and the IRS is no longer accepting taxpayers’ disclosures for failing to report foreign accounts under that program.
  • The various Streamlined Procedures Programs are still viable; but only if the violation is non willful. I have written blogs on this in the past and will not go into any more details here; other than, the taxpayer must make sure their actions were none willful because the IRS audits these submissions and if the IRS deems the actions of the taxpayer were willful violations rather than none willful violations, they could make a referral to IRS Criminal Investigations for possible referral to the U.S.  Justice Department.
  • The IRS also still have a FBAR only disclosure program that might be used by some taxpayers under appropriate circumstances.
  • Mayra, thanks for your questions on this topic. We have numerous blogs on foreign accounts on our law firm’s blog site.   We must go for now.

Attorney’s Concluding Remarks:

THIS IS END OF “LEGAL THOUGHTS” FOR NOW

  • Thank you for giving us the opportunity to inform you about What does the Long-Arm of the United States Tax Code Mean?”
  • We might discuss other aspects of this topic on gross income and foreign accounts matters in follow up podcasts or blogs in the near future.  If you want to see or hear more taxation, litigation and immigration LEGAL THOUGHTS from Coleman Jackson, P.C., subscribe to our podcast and stay tune!  We are here in Dallas, Texas and want to inform, educate, and encourage our communities on topics dealing with taxation, litigation, and immigration.  Until next time, take care.

Podcast – Foreign Investments and U.S. Income Tax? | LEGAL THOUGHTS

Coleman Jackson, P.C. | Transcript of Legal Thoughts Podcast
Published September 02, 2020.

Foreign Investments and U.S. Income Tax

Legal Thoughts is a podcast presentation by Coleman Jackson, P.C., a law firm based in Dallas, Texas serving individuals, businesses, and agencies from around the world in taxation, litigation, and immigration legal matters.

This particular episode of Legal Thoughts is a podcast where the Attorney, Coleman Jackson is being interviewed by Mayra Torres, the Public Relations Associate of Coleman Jackson, P.C.   The topic of discussion is “Foreign Investments and U.S. Income Tax?” You can listen to this podcast by clicking here:

You can also listen to this episode and subscribe to Coleman Jackson, P.C.’s Legal Thoughts podcast on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify, Cashbox or wherever you may listen to your podcast.

TRANSCRIPT:
ATTORNEY:  Coleman Jackson
LEGAL THOUGHTS
COLEMAN JACKSON, ATTORNEY & COUNSELOR AT LAW

ATTORNEY:  Coleman Jackson

Welcome to Tax Thoughts

  • My name is Coleman Jackson and I am an attorney at Coleman Jackson, P.C., a taxation, litigation, and immigration law firm based in Dallas, Texas
  • Our topic for today is: “Foreign Investments and U.S. Income Tax?”
  • Other members of Coleman Jackson, P.C. are Yulissa Molina, Tax Legal Assistant, Reyna Munoz,Immigration Legal Assistant and Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate.
  • On this “Legal Thoughts” podcast our public relations associate, Mayra Torres will be asking the questions and I will be responding to her questions on this important tax topic: “Foreign Investments and U.S. Income Tax”

Interviewer:  Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate

  • Good morning everyone. My name is Mayra Torres and I am the public relations associate at Coleman Jackson, P.C. Coleman Jackson, P.C. is a taxation, litigation and immigration law firm based right here in Dallas, Texas. We help businesses, individuals and everyone with sales taxes,income taxes, gift and estate taxes and contracts drafting and negotiations and disputes and immigrants on a variety of business and family immigration matters from around the world.
  • Today Attorney we are discussing foreign investments and U.S. Income Tax Law. My first question is basic:

Question 1:

Are foreign corporations ever subject to U.S. income tax laws?

Attorney Answers Question 1:

Mayra, the simple answer is YES, SOMETIMES FOREIGN CORPORATIONS ARE SUBJECT TO U.S.INCOME TAX LAWS!

Interviewer:  Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate

QUESTION 2:

  • Okay then, let me just change my question a little.
  • When are foreign corporations subject to U.S. income tax?

Attorney Answers Question 2:

A foreign corporation is taxed on its taxable income which is effectively connected with the conduct of a trade or business within the United States under Internal Revenue Code Section 882.

Interviewer:  Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate

Question 3:

  • Attorney what do you mean by the term “effectively connected with the conduct of a trade or business within the U.S.”?

Attorney Answers Question 3:

  • That is a very astute question! Think in terms of source of the increment or decrement of wealth of the foreign entity. What I mean is the term effectively connected with a trade or business in the United States means income, gain or loss incurred during a tax year from sources within the United States. The key to understanding the meaning of this term is the source of the income, gain or loss incurred by the foreign corporation. If the source of the income, gain or loss for the year is in the U.S., then the foreign corporation is engaged in a trade or business effectively connected with the conduct of a trade or business within the U.S. and are subject to federal income taxation under Internal Revenue Code Section 882.
  • The application of this Code Section does not mean that the income, gain or loss have to come from a trade or business being conducted in the U.S. If the source of the income, gain or loss is in the U.S., Code Section 882 applies and the income, gain or loss is taxable.

Interviewer:  Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate

Question 4:

  • Does the foreign corporation have to operate a business within the United States during the tax year in order for these rules to apply to income, gains or losses under Code Section 882?

Attorney Answers Question 4:

  • Yes, that is exactly right. In order for Code Section 882 to apply, the foreign corporation must be engaged in a trade or business within the United States during the particular tax year where the determination is being made whether income, gain or loss is effectively connected with the conduct of a trade or business within the United States under Internal Revenue Code Section 882.
  • The Code Section 882 determination is made at the close of each tax year. If a foreign corporation has income, gain or loss at any time during a tax year from a source within the U.S. and its engaged in a trade or business within the U.S. whether it be in a joint venture or partnership or limited liability company or similar affiliation with a U.S. entity, it is taxable income effectively connected with the conduct of a trade or business within the U.S. under IRC 882.

Interviewer:  Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate

Question 5:

  • Wow! Attorney that is a lot to digest; can we continue this conversation in another podcast because I have a lot more questions? For example, are there any categories of income, gain or loss considered effectively connected to the United States even if its earned overseas by a foreigner?

Attorney Answers Question 5:

Yes, there are categories of foreign source income that are subject to U.S. income taxation as effectively connected with the conduct of a trade or business within the U.S. But you are right Mayra that is enough to ponder for now. We can continue this topic in a later podcast in about two weeks. Please subscribe to our podcast.

Mayra’s Concluding Remarks

  • I am looking forward to continuing this topic in about two weeks!
  • Anyone interested in hearing more about foreign investments and U.S. Taxation should subscribe to our podcast on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify or wherever they listen to their podcast.We also have a lot of blogs going deep into the details of U.S. tax law, litigation and immigration law topics on Coleman Jackson, P.C.’s website at cjacksonlaw.com.

 Coleman Jackson, Attorney’s concluding remarks:

THIS IS THE END OF “LEGAL THOUGHTS” FOR NOW

  • Thanks for giving us the opportunity to inform you about foreign investments and U.S. taxation. If you want to see or hear more taxation, litigation and immigration LEGAL THOUGHTS from Coleman Jackson, P.C. Stay tune! Watch for a new Legal Thoughts podcast in about two weeks.We are here in Dallas, Texas and want to inform, educate and encourage our communities on topics dealing with taxation, litigation and immigration. Until next time, take care.

Federal Tax Developments Related to Covid-19

By: Coleman Jackson, Attorney & Certified Public Accountant
March 30, 2020

As you can imagine, things are changing and developing fast and furious during this Covid-19 Pandemic. Developments in taxes are no exception! Our law firm desires to keep our clients and others informed with regards to certain tax developments that might impact their businesses. In keeping with that desire, note some of the most significant recent federal tax developments:

  1. Tax Day now July 15, 2020: The U.S. Treasury and Internal Revenue Service automatically extended from April 15, 2020 to July 15, 2020 the federal income tax filing due date. The IRS gives affected taxpayers until the last day of the Extension Period to file tax returns or make tax payments, including estimated tax payments, that have either an original or extended due date falling within the Period. The IRS will waive any interest and late filing and payment penalties related to these late tax returns.
  2. Small and midsize employers can begin taking advantage of two refundable payroll tax credits designed to immediately and fully reimburse them, dollar of dollar, for the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave to their employees.
  3. The CARES Act of 2020 enacted in response to Covid-19 provides employers with an employee retention credit in the amount of 50% of their wages impacted by closure due to Covid-19. Further the Act which became law on March 27, 2020 extends the due date for paying employer payroll taxes. Taxpayers must carefully review the law and properly compute the amount of payroll taxes that can be deferred; because it is not 100% deferral of all payroll taxes. Note: The Small Business Administration has announced that they are taking applications for disaster relief from small businesses with respect to loans up to two million dollars for monies borrowed to make payroll and pay rent during this Covid-19 Crisis. The application process and details regarding what businesses qualify and the procedures for applying can be found on the Small Business Administration website. The SBA has announced that they have relaxed some of their processing and documentation requirements to expedite the processing of these emergency loans to small businesses impacted by Covid-19. It appears that these SBA emergency loans could be converted to grants under certain condition(s). The IRS will waive the usual fees and expedite requests for copies of previously filed tax returns for affected Covid-19 taxpayers who need them to apply for benefits or to file amended tax returns claiming casualty losses. Watch our blogs as more changes may be forth coming in the area of employer relief due to Covid-19 closures. But for now, this appears to be the game plan regarding employers.
  4. “Existing Installment Agreements –For taxpayers under an existing Installment Agreement, payments due between April 1 and July 15, 2020 are suspended. Taxpayers who are currently unable to comply with the terms of an Installment Payment Agreement, including a Direct Deposit Installment Agreement, may suspend payments during this period if they prefer. Furthermore, the IRS will not default any Installment Agreements during this period. By law, interest will continue to accrue on any unpaid balances.” Source: IR-2020-59, March 25, 2020.
  5. The CARES Act eliminates the 10% early withdrawal penalty for Covid-19 related distributions from retirement accounts and make other rule changes regarding retirement account contributions.
  6. The Act relaxes certain corporate and individual charitable contributions rules and provides for an above the line deduction up to $300 for charitable contributions.
  7. Texas has been declared a Presidential Disaster Area related to Covid-19, so more specific rules and provisions could be developed by the IRS related to individuals and businesses with business operations in Texas or impacted by this particular Presidential Disaster Area Declaration.

This law blog is written by the Taxation | Litigation | Immigration Law Firm of Coleman Jackson, P.C. for educational purposes; it does not create an attorney-client relationship between this law firm and its reader. You should consult with legal counsel in your geographical area with respect to any legal issues impacting you, your family or business.

Coleman Jackson, P.C. | Taxation, Litigation, Immigration Law Firm | English (214) 599-0431 | Spanish (214) 599-0432

Thinking About Taxes

By:  Coleman Jackson, Attorney & Certified Public Accountant
March 07, 2020

Thinking About Taxes

Thinking about spending that money withheld from employees’ wages to take a tour of the world, pay other business expenses or house payments?  Don’t do it before reading Internal Revenue Code Section 7702!   Hear those alarm bells ringing!  Anyone required to collect, account for, and turn over to the United States Treasury and willfully fails to carry out this duty are subject to severe civil penalties and upon being found guilty of the felony of failing to collect, account for, and turn over can be fined up to $10,000 and spend up to five years in federal prison.  Payroll tax fraud is a serious crime that is commonly investigated by the IRS Criminal Investigation (CI) Division.  This unit of the IRS investigates all kinds of violations of the Internal Revenue Code.  CI along with the Financial Crimes Network investigates FBAR violations (these are U.S. persons with foreign bank accounts and other foreign assets who fail to timely and accurately disclose these holding on Form 114), money laundering (these are individuals or entities engaged in some kind of unlawful activity and endeavoring to get dirty money into the normal banking system) and other financial crimes.

 

Thinking about not filing that required income tax, gift tax or other federal tax return or providing fraudulent information the IRS?  Don’t do it before reading Internal Revenue Code Sections 7207 and 7203Hear those whistles blowing!  Anyone who intentionally gives false documents, which includes returns and any other written representation to the Internal Revenue Service and any of its employees knowing that its materially false or fraudulent is subject to civil fines and upon being found guilty of the felony of giving the Service false returns or other documents can be fined up to $10,000 (if individual) and up to $50,000 (if corporation), and spend up to one year in federal prison.  Multiples applies in that cumulative false statements, returns and documents can generate multiplication of the civil fines and additional years to the duration of the prison term.

 

Thinking about paying fewer taxes than is lawfully owed by engaging in creative accounting, leaving that or this item off the return while adding and dreaming about things that never happened? Don’t do it before reading Internal Revenue Code Section 7201Hear those gongs clanging! Anyone who intentionally attempts to evade or defeat any tax imposed under the Internal Revenue Code is subject to civil penalties up to $100,000 (if individual) and up to $500,000 (if corporation), and spend up to five years in federal prison upon conviction.

 

Thinking about taxes?  Stay away from the tumbling … lie.


This law blog is written by the Taxation | Litigation | Immigration Law Firm of Coleman Jackson, P.C. for educational purposes; it does not create an attorney-client relationship between this law firm and its reader.  You should consult with legal counsel in your geographical area with respect to any legal issues impacting you, your family or business.

Coleman Jackson, P.C. | Taxation, Litigation, Immigration Law Firm | English (214) 599-0431 | Spanish (214) 599-0432     

How Do You Get Rid of an IRS Tax Lien?

By:  Coleman Jackson, Attorney, Certified Public Accountant
January 29, 2020

How Do You Get Rid of an IRS Tax Lien

When the Internal Revenue Service sends you a tax bill and you do not pay it, a federal tax lien is created by operation of law whether the IRS files the lien in the public property records in your state or not.  A tax lien is merely an enforceable claim that attaches to your property and right to property.  If the IRS files the lien in the public property records, they must under the law inform you of this action.  This is done by a Notice of Federal Tax Lien.

 

IRS levy property

A federal tax lien does not authorize the IRS is take your property.  For this, the IRS must levy your property.  A levy is a lawful process by which the taxing authority can take your property or right to property without the necessity to obtain a court order. Don’t get confused between a lien (notice of tax debt) and a levy (taking of your property).  Taxpayers have a right to appeal both actions in the Office of Appeals and possibly to the U.S. Tax Court if their challenge is timely.For now, the question in this blog is how do you get rid of an IRS tax lien?

 

Taxpayers can get rid of an IRS tax lien

Taxpayers can get rid of an IRS tax lien!  If the tax debt has paid in full, the taxpayer can get rid of the tax lien by seeking a release of the lien.  This is typically an automatic process; but if it’s not, request a release of the lien.  Taxpayers can seek exemption of certain property from the lien.  This is typically done to facilitate the sale or financing of real property or business property with an attached federal tax lien.  Taxpayers can post a bond and ask that the lien be released.  Taxpayers can get rid of a tax lien by filing a challenge in the Office of Appeals as to procedural issues since the IRS must comply with exacting legal rules with respect to filing federal tax liens.  Perfecting an IRS tax lien like any lien is a matter of state law which varies from state to state.   In Texas property law varies from county to county.  This simply means that the IRS must comply with each counties law when filing liens in the county property records.  There are 254 counties in Texas.  In addition to any procedural issues,taxpayers can also get rid of a federal lien by challenging it on substantive legal grounds.  Finally, taxpayers can get rid of an IRS tax lien if the ten-year collections statute has expired unless the collection statute has been extended or suspended by bankruptcy proceedings or for other reasons.  The release of the tax lien is automatic on the expiry of the ten-year collection statute.  This is merely a summary of how to get rid of a tax lien; in law, there are a lot of twist and turns depending upon all the facts and circumstances.

 

This law blog is written by the Taxation | Litigation | Immigration Law Firm of Coleman Jackson, P.C. for educational purposes; it does not create an attorney-client relationship between this law firm and its reader.  You should consult with legal counsel in your geographical area with respect to any legal issues impacting you, your family or business.

Coleman Jackson, P.C. | Taxation, Litigation, Immigration Law Firm | English (214) 599-0431 | Spanish (214) 599-0432